Marissa’s Disappearing Act
Marissa’s hands were the first things to disappear. She walked along the cobweb-infested hallway, trying not to sneeze into the casserole as dust tickled her sinuses. She couldn’t wait to put the dish down so she could scratch her nose, but when she glanced hopefully at her hands they weren’t there. The dish floated several inches ahead of her wrists, which ended abruptly, the worn wooden floorboards visible in the gap between.
Marissa gasped, then squealed. She stumbled into the dining room, lit dimly by the low flames in the fireplace and the grimy chandelier above the table. Brian sat at the far end, a knife clutched in one hand and a fork in the other. His lips were pressed tightly together and a waft of disappointment drifted across the expansive room. Marissa stood rooted to the spot—she’d barely managed to keep hold of the dish and marveled at how, even though her hands were gone, she could still feel the heat of the casserole warming her fingers.
The door creaked shut behind her. Brian raised his eyebrows—they looked to Marissa like two furry caterpillars racing to hide in his ever-receding hairline.
“Well?” Brian asked. “Are you just going to stand there all day? Come on, woman, I’m hungry. We’re not going to get much talking done if you keep gawping at me.”
A chill breeze whispered through the room, kissing the fire and causing the glass beads of the chandelier to clink together. Marissa closed her eyes. Her great-great aunt had lived in the house right up until her very timely death. Marissa had visited the wizened old lady at her bedside. ‘There’s phantoms in this house,’ she’d said, her gums whipping up a drooly-mush Marissa tried her best to ignore. ‘You’ll hear ‘em sometimes, singing in the wind. Don’t be frightened, they won’t do you no ‘arm. They’ll give you exactly what you need.’
“Woman!” Brian’s face was turning a shade Marissa had only seen on ripe eggplants. His lips were stretched into a grimace that showed the bottom edges of his top teeth—like a ventriloquist’s dummy about to launch into a jaunty tune about Mother Brown kicking her knees up. Brian hadn’t sung a jaunty tune in the entire time Marissa had known him. “Put. The. Bloody. Dish. Down.”
The breeze rushed through Marissa’s hair and she placed the dish on the table. Now her arms were gone, too. But she wasn’t afraid anymore. She had been with Brian for so long—tending to his needs, meeting his every demand—what would it hurt to be invisible for a little while? She didn’t even feel it when the rest of her body evaporated into the dim room. She felt weightless and giddy as she slipped, along with the breeze, out through the window and into the glorious night. She turned her ethereal body in time to see Brian frowning at the place she’d just been.